With Father’s Day approaching very quickly, I’ve come to realize just how many people DON’T deserve to be celebrated on this certain day. Anyone who reads my blog knows of the issues I have with my own daughter’s father. You can appropriately assume he wont be getting a card this year. But with my consistent depression and this day coming up, the memories of every father figure I’ve had come flowing to mind like an unwanted, bacteria carrying, stream.
My Mother re-married in July of 2007. Since then I’ve had a father figure to celebrate every year. But before that Father’s day was just a reminder of what I missed out on. I’m thankful for my step dad and everything he does for my family, even though he didn’t come into the picture until I was 16 when I had already been hardened. Therefore, we never bonded. That doesn’t mean I don’t love him, just that I’ve never been close with him or had a father-daughter relationship with him. And that’s okay. I respect him and everything he does.
My Mother married my father when she was 18 (he was 27), and had me less than a year later. They divorced within a few years. I don’t remember much from their marriage since I was very young, except a couple memories of them fighting. One where I stood next to my mom screaming as they fought. The other, her carrying me sideways out of a restaurant or something of the sort, while she stormed out with him following behind. When I got older I learned of his abuse, drug use and came very familiar with his alcoholism. I hardly saw my dad after the divorce. Once or twice every 3 or 4 years until I turned 12. He got drunk everyday it seemed like. I remember he would always get boozed up then want to have some sentimental talk which I always dreaded. My father loved me, I know he did. He never even spanked me once. But that was probably due to the fact that I never warmed up to him enough to even talk in front of him, let alone act up enough for a spanking. But my father wasn’t a part of my life. He was too busy getting drunk.
You’d think after him my mom would learn a thing or two. But no, she actually degraded. She got with this short little guy with a blond mullet. A month before my 4th birthday she gave birth to twins. I don’t remember too much from those days except my jealousy of the twins and how everything seemed to change in a flash. Before she met him, it was just her and I. Now there was this guy and two new babies. The older I got, the worse things got. He drank all day, everyday. One beer after the other. He would smoke weed right in front of us and blow the smoke in our faces. Laughing with his friends while his young children got a contact high. Chain smoking and filling the house with clouds of secondhand smoke that flowed into our young lungs. Porn lying around the house like newspaper. I was so afraid of him I could never relax. In fact I don’t remember a time in my childhood that I didn’t suffer from anxiety. He always seemed unstable. Extremely unstable. Drugs, alcohol, violent anger, not a good mix. But it always was the mix. Everyday. I remember some of his worse fits. Cutting himself in front of me while explicitly explaining how he wanted to murder my grandmother. Snorting gunpowder and locking my mother in a room and threatening all of us. Yelling, things being thrown and broken, it was all normal. It seemed the older I got, the more angry he got with me. I don’t know why. He just hated me. Being the oldest child and having my mother gone all the time gave me all the responsibility. He sat on the couch drinking and smoking all day with his friends. I had to clean, take care of my sisters, get beers for him and his friends. Like his own personal slave. By the time I was 10 I had 4 sisters. When the other two were born I was old enough to take care of them for him. When my mom went back to work I was the one changing diapers, making bottles, feeding, and putting them to sleep. I wasn’t even allowed to do my homework until all the chores were done and the baby was taken care of. When things weren’t done the right way, he made sure to get his point of disapproval across. A dish wasn’t clean enough, there were dishes flying, yelling, everything going back into the sink. Our room wasn’t cleaned right, mattresses were flipped, drawers were pulled out and thrown, clothes were thrown around the room and we were given 10 minutes to clean it correctly. We were too loud, we got at least an hour in the corner “stretching” he called it, arms straight in the air, standing on our tippy-toes. We misbehaved, we got the belt, a hanger, a phone cord, whatever he could swat across our asses and backs. The older I got, the more violent he got. Getting a smack across the face was normal for me, but having it done in front of my friend was quite the embarrassment. Getting thrown and smacked around while being “taught to fight” was just an everyday thing. Although I wasn’t allowed to fight back. Getting things thrown at me for not moving fast enough wasn’t a surprise. I remember him throwing a can of soda at my head for not changing the laundry fast enough. In front of all his friends. No one said anything. In fact even his friends thought it was okay to get in on the action. While he and my mom went to a concert two of his friends babysat me and a friend of mine. I was 12. They forced us to go to bed early. We were kids and wanted to stay up, apparently we were too loud. His friend came into the room where my friend and I layed together on the bunk bed, he grabbed me by my hair and tried to pull me off of the top bunk. I grabbed onto his hand and dug my nails in. My friend was screaming at him to let go of me. After a couple minutes he did and walked out of the room. I was so embarrassed I started to cry. My parents never did anything about it. I know what you’re thinking. “Didn’t your mom ever say anything?!?!”. Not that I ever heard. Not during the physical abuse. Not even when he would call me names like “pig”, “idiot“, “worthless”, “piece of shit“, “stupid”, “dumbass”, etc. She never stood up for me. She says he once tried to convince her to send me to live with my dad, but she refused. Although I was sent to live with grandparents for years before I lived with them full time. Maybe she was scared. I could see why. Finally after 11 years he ended up having an affair (he had many), and actually wanted to be with this woman and left my mom for good. I was so relieved. I can’t even explain how happy I am that he never came back into my life. Although I can’t say I learned from my mother’s mistakes. After he left I ended up jumping into a relationship with an older boy (I was 14, he was 17), my first relationship. He was a psycho abuser too. You’d think by then I’d be able to sniff them out. But no, I was fooled. After 2 years of being trapped in what literally felt like hell, I was lucky enough to get out of it. But it makes me realize how father figures really effect a girl and her choice in guys.
Now that I’m older I know my tribulations have made me strong. But they’ve also given me many many many problems. I guess I’ve never seen a father worth celebrating before. I’ve never seen a real life “dad”. The kind like in the movies. The ones that protect you and are always there for you. I was never able to say “I’m a daddy’s girl” like my own mother has. Now my own daughter wont be able to say that either. I know she wont go through the awful things I did. And I am beyond grateful for that. In a way I’m glad for my experience because I’m only 22, but I know things that most 22-year-olds don’t. I have an insight to things people don’t acquire until their 30s or 40s. Yes, that insight might be struggle, pain, anger, etc. But It’s also character and strength. I may have never been able to say “Happy Father’s Day!” and actually meant it, But now I can. Father’s Day still doesn’t mean anything to me and seems to be a bit annoying. But at least now I can turn it into a day to at least say thank you to someone who has been a million times better than the assholes I just told you about.
Happy Father’s Day to the REAL Fathers out there. The ones who love their children, protect them and are always there for them. Not just there, but present. Mentally, emotionally and physically.